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Plastics firm bringing 115 jobs to Puyallup

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on Feb. 26, 2009 at 4:34 pm with No Comments »
February 26, 2009 4:34 pm

A French-owned high-technology plastics company will soon move its Washington plant and its 115 jobs from Seattle’s Rainier Valley to Puyallup.

Roy Teter, facilities manager for Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, said the phased move will begin in about three weeks and conclude in June or July.

Saint-Gobain produces high performance plastics and composite parts mostly for the aerospace industry.

The company had been searching for a new home for about 18 months, said Teter, when the former idX Corporation woodworking plant at 507 Levee Road became available.

The plastics firm had been working with the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County along with other cites in King and Pierce counties to find a suitable new location.

Saint-Gobain’s lease on its present plant expires at the end of August.

The new 109,000-square-foot plant is better laid out than the company’s Rainier Valley plant, said Teter, allowing the company to streamline its production system and cut energy consumption.

IdX, which makes fixtures for retailers, moved to a larger plant nearby.

Puyallup City Manager Gary McLean said the city expedited the company’s demolition and construction permits to allow it to meet its move-in schedule.

“They brought us the request for permits on Thursday, and we had them ready for them by Monday,” he said.

The French company is installing new energy-efficient lighting in the building and doubling the power available to run plant machinery, said Teter.

Saint-Gobain is also adding laboratory and final inspection facilities in the plant.

A demographic study the company conducted showed that many of its workers already live in South King County and Pierce County. Among them is Teter, a Puyallup South Hill resident.

The company first plans to bring its final assembly business here from Seattle and then gradually bring its parts production to Puyallup.

“Our plan is to continue production uninterrupted,” said the plastic plant manager.

The new site, unlike the old one, allows the company to expand, he said. The old plant was purchased by a developer who plans to demolish it and build apartments on the site.

The plastic company is part of Saint-Gobain, a company that ranks 110th on Fortune Magazine’s Global 500 list of the world’s largest businesses.

Puyallup City Manager McLean said the city is particularly pleased to see new jobs come to the community. A statewide survey showed that residents of the state’s 25th Legislative District, which includes Puyallup, have the longest commute distance of any district in the state.

One of the Puyallup City Council’s objectives is to attract more businesses to Puyallup to bring the jobs closer to home, McLean said.

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